Rating: 4 stars
Glamorous, beautiful Mummy has everything a woman could want… except for a daughter of her very own. So when she sees Kim – heavily pregnant, glued to her phone and ignoring her eldest child in a busy shop – she does what anyone would do. She takes her. But little foul-mouthed Tonya is not the daughter that Mummy was hoping for.
Meanwhile Kim is demonised by the media as a ‘scummy mummy’, who deserved to lose Tonya and ought to have her other children taken too. Haunted by memories of her own childhood and refusing to play by the media’s rules, she begins to spiral, turning on those who love her.
Though they are worlds apart, Mummy and Kim have more in common than they could possibly imagine. But it is five-year-old Tonya who is caught in the middle…
My verdict: Firstly thanks to Netgalley for letting me read this book prior to its release on Mother’s Day of next year. I really enjoyed this tense thriller – I found Kim and Mummy had many similarities like sexual abuse and living on the breadline and on the other hand Mummy has this twisted faith in god who is still desperate to please her family.
People were quick to judge Kim which raises issues like, social class, preconceived stereotypes and prejudice. But she had more of a sound mind compared to Mummy given her traumatic past. Through Kim’s eyes we saw how she was crucified by the media which led her to a deep depression/ postpartum anxiety and a desire to use again despite her knowing that it will feed into the critics desire. Even though she has it hard, she’s happy and this instance shows her how much she has.
Mummy’s point of view brings out issues of anorexia, anger issues, a need for control, her issues with perfectionism and her struggle to maintain relationships as well as a strong desire to follow the bible to the letter. At first I didn’t like her and found her to have a victim complex but when you consider her backstory of physical/ sexual abuse/ incest/ miscarriages I understood her reason behind the events.
From Tonya’s point of view we learn how confused she is by all this and thinks that another life maybe good, then it’s not. Children in situations like these adapt to survive and in some cases she did but her defiance saved her in the end.
I also loved Ayash’s story of having a disabled son but instead of fighting for what she hasn’t got and accepting what she does instead. Despite Kim’s repeated attempts to push her away both women realise how much they need each other.
Ultimately a brilliant thriller interweaving the lives of two very different people with similar experiences, showing us how we cope with things in life.
The ending gave me goosebumps and with Tina Baker’s blunt and yet elaborate writing kept me hooked right up until the very end. I didn’t realise I was holding my breath and whilst I enjoyed every short sharp cliffhanger with the brief but gritty chapters with intriguing and realistic characters each with their own outlook, exhibited by their unique lexis and maxims. I enjoyed how Tina Baker combined the two arc types such as Good Versus Evil and what one thought was a crusade within the two women in particular made for a very intriguing read.
I loved how Tina Baker conveyed parts of the story via social media in particular reflects the times in which we live where everyone’s opinion is seen and heard wanted or not. I also loved her use of flashbacks and memories to convey the fragmented minds of both women and Tonya at times and how they are affected by their upbringing.
Unfortunately, stories like these aren’t always fiction and are far more common in this day and age than people think. A fantastic spin on an all too common tale. However, it loses .5 stars for its predictable ending but that doesn’t mean it’s avoid of twists and turns. Fans of Shalini Boland and Lucinda Berry will love this hair raising read. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw this as a BBC/ITV drama in future.